History of U.S. Territorial Acquisitions 

"From the time the American Colonists wrested the thirteen original States from Great Britain, the history of the United States has been a continued story of national expansion." 
 Marshall Everett, Editor
"Exciting Experiences in our Wars with Spain and the Filipinos," 1900

U.S. Attitudes Towards Expansionism 

U.S. Territorial Acquisitions as of 1900 

U.S. Territorial Maps (1783-1900) 

Manifest Destiny , the Silent Driving Force of U.S. Expansionism 

". . .the right to overspread and to posses the continent allotted by Providence, for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federated self-government, for our yearly multiplying millions." 

John O'Sullivan, a journalist who first enunciated the idea of 
Manifest Destiny to promote the annexation of Texas, writing 
in his short-lived popular paper Morning Star, December 27, 1845

The First Expansionist 

"The Constitution has made no provision for our holding foreign territory, still less for incorporating foreign nations into our union. The Executive, in seizing the fugitive occurrence with so much advances the good of their country, have done an act beyond the constitution. The legislature, in casting behind them metaphysical subtleties, and risking themselves like faithful servants, must ratify and pay for it, and throw themselves on their country for doing for them, unauthorized, what we know they would have done for themselves had they been in a situation to do it. It is the case of a guardian, investing the money of his ward in purchasing an important adjacent territory, and saying to him when of age, 'I did this for your good: I pretend to no right to bind you; you may disavow me and I trust to get out of the scrape as I can; I thought it my duty to risk myself for you. 

President Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Senator 
John Breckenridge of Kansas, August 12, 1803, 
explaining his position on the Louisana Purchase

The Last Expansionists 

"Territory sometimes comes to us when we go to war in a holy cause, and whenever it does the banner of liberty will float over it and bring, I trust, blessings and benefits to all people." 

President McKinley in a speech, October 25, 1898 

"It means nothing. There is not an imperialist in the country that I have yet to met. Expansion? Yes; playing the part of a great nation. Expansion has been the law of our national growth. Our fathers worked, we rest; our forefathers toiled, endured, dared, and we stay at home to avoid trouble; our fathers conquered the West, but we are a feeble folk and we cannot hold the Philippines." 

Theodore Roosevelt, in a lecture at Pocatello, Idaho

U.S. Territorial Acquisitions as of 1900 
(Total land area: 3,651,402 square miles) 
U.S. Mainland Territories 
(Land area: 2,930,210 square miles) 
Territory Acquired 
Land Area (sq. mi.) 
Year Acquired 
Acquired From 
Acquisition Cost 
Acquisition Authority 
U.S. President 
Original 13  States of the U.S.  892,135  Sept 3, 1783  England    American Revolution; Treaty of Paris The first term of George Washington started in 1789 
Louisiana Territory  827,987  April 30, 1803  France  $15 Million  Louisiana Purchase; Treaty of Paris  Thomas Jefferson 
Florida  58,666  Feb 22, 1819  Spain  $5 Million  Florida Purchase  James Monroe 
Contested Areas  13,435  1819  Spain     
Texas  389,166  Dec 22, 1845  Annexed by the U.S.    Annexation by Consent  James Polk 
Oregon and Pacific Coast Territories  189,962  1846  England    Ashburton Treaty fixing the U.S.-Canada border at 49th parallel.
California, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona  529,189  Feb 2, 1848; ratified by the Senate on March 10, 1848  Mexico  $15 Million cash; $3.25 Million to cover claims  U.S.-Mexican War; Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico 
Southern Arizona  29,670 Dec 30, 1853 Mexico $10 Million  Gadsden Treaty or Gadsden Purchase  Franklin Pierce 
Total Area  2,930,210   

Outlying U.S. Territories 
(Land area: 791,637 square miles) 
Territory Acquired  Land Area (sq. mi.)  Year Acquired  Acquired From [Location]  Acquisition Cost  Acquisition Authority  U.S. President 
Alaska  656,424  March 30, 1867  Russia  $7.2 Million  Alaska Purchase from Russia, rediculed as "Seward's folly."  Andrew Johnson 
Hawaii  10,932  July 7, 1898 thru Newlands Resolution; August 12, 1898 as official acquisition date Queen Lili'uokalani of Hawaii   None Military Measure:  U.S.-backed coup ousting the last Queen of Hawaii William McKinley 
Philippines  115,124  Dec 10, 1898  Spain  $20 Million 
purchase of
from Spain 
Treaty of Paris officially ending the Spanish-American War  of 1898.
Guam  209
Puerto Rico  8,435 
American Samoa  77  1899  Native Samoans  None Tripartite Treaty of 1899 between the U.S., Germany, and Spain.
Panama Canal Zone
February 26, 1904 Panama $10,000,000, plus $250,000 anual payment  during the life of the treaty, beginning 9 years after date of treaty ratification. U.S.-Panama Treaty Theodore Roosevelt
Total Area  791,637   

Pacific Islands Under U.S. Possession
(Land area: 13.47 square miles) 
Territory Acquired  Land Area (sq. mi.)  Year Acquired  U.S. President  Acquisition Authority 
Baker Island  0.54 
James Buchanan  Purchase or Discovery 
Howland Island  0.62 
Jarvis Island  1.74 
Kingman Reef  0.39 
Johnston Atoll  1.08 
Midway Island  2.00 
Andrew Johnson 
Palmyra Atoll 4.59 
William McKinley 
Wake Island  2.51 
Total Area  13.47   

Original Thirteen States
[Arranged according to the dates they joined the Union]
Name of State State Capital Date It Joined the Union Land Area
(Sq. mi.)
1.  Delaware    Dec. 7, 1787
2.  Pennsylvania    Dec. 12, 1787  
3.  New Jersey    Dec. 18, 1787
4.  Georgia    Jan. 2, 1788  
5.  Connecticut    Jan. 9, 1788
6.  Massachussets    Feb. 6, 1788  
7.  Maryland    April 28, 1788
8.  South Carolina    May 23, 1788  
9.  New Hamshire    June 21, 1788
10.  Virginia    June 25, 1788  
11.  New York    July 26, 1788  
12.  North Carolina    Nov. 21, 1789  
13.  Rhode Island    May 29, 1790

Louisiana Purchase States
Name of State State Capital Order of Admission Date of Admission
Land Area
(sq. mi.)
1. Louisiana Baton Rouge 18 1812
2. Missouri Jefferson City 24 1821
3. Arkansas Little Rock 25 1836
4. Iowa Des Moines 29 1846
5. Minnesota St. Paul 32 1858
6. Kansas Topeka 34 1861
7. Nebraska Lincoln 37 1867
8. Colorado Denver 38 1876
9. North Dakota Bismark 39 1889
10. South Dakota Pierre 40 1889
11. Montana Helena 41 1889
12. Wyoming Cheyenne 44 1890
13. Oklahoma Oklahoma City 46 1907



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Philippine-American War Centennial Initiative (PAWCI)